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Article posted: 9/11/2013 5:14 PM

Life sentence for 1998 Aurora double murder in alley

Jaime M. Diaz

Jaime M. Diaz

 
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A 36-year-old Aurora man was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without the chance for parole after his conviction earlier this year of killing two men in an Aurora alley in 1998.

A beer bottle with his DNA on it was a key piece of evidence that helped convict Jaime M. Diaz of killing Brendon Anderson, 21, of North Aurora, and Elias Calcano, 21, of Aurora.

Diaz faced a mandatory life sentence after a jury convicted him of two counts of first-degree murder following a four-day trial in January.

Diaz delayed his sentencing for several months by arguing his lawyer provided ineffective assistance before Judge Karen Simpson issued the prison term Wednesday.

"The families of Brendon Anderson and Elias Calcano waited many years for justice. They certainly deserve some measure of peace," Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon said. "We hope that this sentence, along with these convictions, help them move forward."

At trial, prosecutors argued that Diaz shot Anderson and Calcano while they were sitting in the front seat of Anderson's Cadillac on March 15, 1998 in an alley off the 700 block of East New York Street on the city's east side. Diaz then beat Calcano, ran him over with the car and lit both bodies on fire, prosecutors said.

During the trial prosecutors called experts who testified that Diaz's DNA matched the DNA on a beer bottle found in the back seat of the car. A former gang member, Jason Peterson, also testified that he went for a ride with Diaz, also a gang member, and the two victims, and that Diaz shot both from behind.

At least three other people testified that they smelled gasoline on Diaz when driving with him later that night.

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